Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed her ‘commit to caucus’ for Ron DeSantis card after her endorsement of him as the Florida governor’s advisers see a ‘big win’ in the key early voting state as the only way to stop Donald Trump‘s path to the Republican presidential nomination.
DeSantis sat at Reynolds’ side as she formalized her pledge to back him, the two governors laughing together as shown in exclusive photos obtained by DailyMail.com.
The Florida governor has over 20,000 Iowans who have commit to caucus for him so far, according to his campaign, and he’s made stops in 87 of Iowa’s 99 counties. He’s pledged to visit them all – the only presidential candidate to do so.
It’s all part of his strategy to take an early win in the Republican presidential primary, which includes Reynolds’ ‘vast statewide political operation’ in Iowa – the state that holds the first nominating contest of 2024.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs her commit to caucus for Ron DeSantis card in exclusive photos obtained by DailyMail.com
Reynold and DeSantis hit the campaign trail running on Wednesday, doing an early event with DeSantis’ wife Casey and their daughters at their side.
The Iowa governor will also join DeSantis in Miami on Tuesday night for a fundraiser, a source confirms to DailyMail.com, but she won’t stay in Florida for Wednesday’s presidential debate.
Meanwhile, a memo from the DeSantis campaign, obtained by the Associated Press and sent to donors, argues that other Republican candidates – including former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley – are spoilers in what is a Trump vs. DeSantis contest.
Trump still leads by double digits in Iowa – 26 points in the RealClearPolitics polling average. DeSantis, who has invested heavily in the state, is tied in a close second with Haley, only leading her by three points.
‘Everyone can universally agree that if Trump were to win big in Iowa it would create media and political momentum for his candidacy that would be difficult to stop heading into New Hampshire,’ reads the memo, penned by campaign manager James Uthmeier, deputy manager David Polyansky and senior adviser Ryan Tyson.
‘Additionally, a Trump loss or even a close battle in the Hawkeye State will reveal his political vulnerabilities and inspire Republican voters across the country who are either in the `not for Trump´ or `consider Trump and others´ camps,’ the advisers wrote.
Ron DeSantis arrives with Casey DeSantis and their daughters for a campaign event at Machine Shed restaurant in Davenport, Iowa
Reynolds signs her commit to caucus for DeSantis card and he has over 20,000 Iowans who have commit to caucus for him so far
The memo argues that Haley and others ‘are, at best, simply playing the role of spoiler – exponentially increasing the odds of a Trump nomination.’
Trump, meanwhile, reacted with fury to Reynolds endorsement of DeSantis. She ran for governor – and won – with his support.
‘Why would anybody endorse Ron DeSanctimonious, who is like a wounded bird falling from the sky?’ Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday evening. ‘His Poll numbers are terrible, he is totally against Ethanol, and fought to destroy Social Security and Medicare.’
Reynolds originally vowed to stay out of the crowded Republican primary, hosting events with nearly every candidate in the race although Trump notably avoided her events.
DeSantis, however, courted her heavily. Her endorsement was a big boost to his campaign and a joining of forces of two conservative governors.
Reynolds said once she made her decision she saw no reason to with hold her announcement.
‘Why now, because I made the decision, and once I make a decision, I’m in. I’m ready to go,’ Reynolds told NBC News. ‘I’ll be out there talking, campaigning for him, talking to Iowans and play any role that I can to help to get him the nomination.’
Gov. Kim Reynolds with Ron and Casey DeSantis and their children in Davenport, Iowa
Reynolds endorsement was a big boost to DeSantis’ campaign
It remains to be seen if Gov. Kim Reynolds popularity in Iowa can translate into support for Ron DeSantis
It remains to be seen if her star power and popularity in Iowa translates to support for DeSantis in January’s caucuses.
Haley, meanwhile, is campaigning hard. Her team points out she has attracted more donors and supporters with strong performances in the first two Republican primary debates.
The third debate on Wednesday, where only five candidates will be on stage, will be even more closely watched – particularly between DeSantis and Haley, whose surrogates have ratcheted up their criticism of the other’s candidate.
In her own memo, Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney on Monday described the Iowa contest as a ‘dead heat’ between DeSantis and Haley, while ignoring Trump’s massive lead.
‘The Iowa Caucuses are in just over two months. The New Hampshire primary is just 8 days after that. And Nikki Haley is the only candidate who is positioned to do well in both,’ Ankney wrote. ‘EVEN IF DeSantis were to do well in Iowa, which is a big `if´ given his current decline, he is in such a weak position in New Hampshire and South Carolina that it doesn´t matter. He has no end game.’
In New Hampshire, Haley is in second place in the RealClearPolitics polling average, leading DeSantis by nine points.
Trump has a 30-point lead in the state.